The largest research grant ever given for neurodevelopmental conditions has been awarded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative to an international consortium academically led by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London. The project has 48 other partners in 14 countries, including Noldus Information Technology.
Autism Innovative Medicine Studies-2-Trials (AIMS-2-TRIALS) brings together autistic people and their families, academic institutions, charities, and pharmaceutical companies to study autism and provide an infrastructure for developing and testing new therapies. In line with the autism community’s priorities, the consortium will also focus on why some autistic people develop additional health problems that severely impact both quality and length of life.
Smart baby suit
Noldus and one of the other partners of this consortium, Demcon, will develop an infant monitoring system including a "smart baby suit" which measures the activities of babies at risk of autism, 24/7 in the home environment and securely transmits the data to the researchers’ lab.
Better insights into the behavior of babies
With current techniques, the babies have to be brought into the lab, which means that their behavior will not be natural and that measurements will be for relatively short periods of time. With the new techniques that we will develop, researchers will be able to get much better insights into the behavior of the babies.
Increase understanding of autism
This €115 million grant (AIMS-2-TRIALS), will increase our understanding of autism and help develop new therapies to improve health outcomes and quality of life for autistic people. More than 1 in 100 people are autistic.
In addition to the core features of autism, many autistic people struggle with co-occurring conditions such as epilepsy, anxiety and depression, and life expectancy for autistic people can be reduced by up to 30 years. However, the causes of autism and its associated difficulties remain largely unknown and there are very few effective and autism-appropriate therapies.
AIMS-2-TRIALS builds on an initial investment to establish a UK autism research consortium by the Medical Research Council to better understand brain biology, and subsequent funding from the National Institutes of Health Research to identify the health and social needs of autistic people and their families.
These efforts set the stage for the first EU-AIMS grant, also funded by through the Innovative Medicines Initiative, which established both a European-wide research network and the world’s largest clinical studies on autism. EU-AIMS made significant advances such as understanding how brain development, anatomy and function are related to symptoms of autism. AIMS-2-TRIALS will build on these discoveries by studying people through the lifespan to understand what drives good outcomes for autistic people and their families.